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Nation’s decision makers learn about WSU strengths

Washington State University research will make the most of its time to shine in the national spotlight next week, as university representatives host a reception in Washington, D.C., and deliver federal requests to the state’s congressional delegation.

“The purpose of the Feb. 24 reception is to communicate with those who influence opinions of many in D.C. about the significance that WSU research and scholarship have on the nation,” said Jim Petersen, vice provost for research. Those confirming plans to attend include lawmakers and corporate and federal agency representatives.

Those attending will learn more about WSU research programs in which the federal government has significant interest, Petersen said, such as health sciences, agriculture, security and more. These programs’ research expenditures exceed $150 million annually, including federal expenditures in excess of $80 million.

The reception, a first of its kind for WSU, will be co-hosted by President V. Lane Rawlins and WSU alumni in Congress: Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington; Rep. George Nethercutt, R-Washington; and Rep. Dennis Rehberg, R-Montana. Also present will be three of the four faculty – Martha Cottam, Michelle Kibby and Barbara Sorg – participating in the Feb. 23-27 Mission to Washington D.C. program, with the focus on neuroscience and cognitive science related projects.

On Feb. 24 and 25, WSU representatives will deliver this year’s book of federal requests to Washington State’s senators and representatives in Congress.

“This is a prioritized book of requests for action by our delegation,” Petersen said. “Generally we ask for money appropriations, but not always.

“Our top priority is for the federal government to build a new Agricultural Research Service building on the Pullman campus,” Petersen said. The building would be integrated into the WSU biotechnology complex and would allow federal, faculty and student researchers to work together.

“We are also requesting funds for an animal biosafety level 3 laboratory, which will allow us to safely conduct research on animal diseases” (See related article on mad cow disease in this issue.)

There are seven requests in all.

The next Mission to Washington D.C., tentatively slated for late March or April, will focus on research related to education, learning and pedagogy.

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